A couple of weeks ago Coin World published RWB's letter. The letter was basically a plea to CAC to not follow the status quo of the existing TPG's
regarding how and which VARIETIES are recognized by the TPGs.
What follows are my own observations of how the process works at PCGS:
In general PCGS recognizes those varieties that are published
in one of the books in this list:
Half Cents (1793-1857) by Cohen numbers
Large Cents (1793-1814) by Sheldon numbers
Large Cents (1816-1857) by Newcomb numbers
Half Dimes (1794-1837) by Logan/McCloskey numbers
Dimes (1796-1837) by John Reich Society numbers
NEW Liberty Seated Dimes (1837-1891) by Fortin numbers
Quarter Dollars (1796-1838) by Browning numbers
Half Dollars (1794-1836) by Overton numbers
Capped Bust Reeded Edge Half Dollars (1836 – 1839) by the Dick Graham (GR) numbers
Liberty Seated Half Dollars by Wiley-Bugert (WB) number
Dollars (1794-1804) by Bolender and Bowers/Borckardt numbers
Morgan and Peace Dollars (1878-1935) by VAM numbers (Includes TOP 100, HOT 50, and Hit List 40; see VAM Variety list)
Gold Quarter Eagles, Half Eagles and Eagles (1795-1834) by Bass/Dannreuther numbers
Fivaz-Stanton Varieties from the Cherrypickers Guide, Fourth Edition Vol. II and Fifth Edition Vol. I (see list for exclusions)
But here is the rub. New varieties are being discovered all the time!
Let's say a dealer discovers a new re-punched mint mark on a Kennedy half that is unlisted. He contacts Customer Service, or possibly even whomever is the lead worker in the "Variety Department" at PCGS. 99.9% of the time the dealer will be told simply, "NO! We will ONLY designate published
But the only published Reference on the list for Kennedys is Fivaz-Stanton's CPG. So now, the discovery will have to be blessed by whomever reviews prospective "possible inclusions" to be included in a future edition of the CPG. In the past that review team was largely Fivaz, Stanton, Larry Briggs and maybe one or two confederates.
And therein lies a big problem. IMHO those guys have not always exercised sound judgment. They include some varieties that are ridiculously common and/or ridiculously minor, while ignoring other significant varieties that are far rarer and far more significant.
The 1963 50c Doubled Die Reverse FS-801. This is an ultra common coin, an ultra common variety, and the doubling is very insignificant (tiny shift in the motto E Pluribus Unum only). As such it should have never been included in the CPG!
The 1958 50c Type 2 (struck from retired Proof Dies) is quite scarce (despite the often repeated conventional line that 10% of the mintage is Ty2. Bull crap! ), particularly in high grade; yet does not even merit a listing in the CPG.
Compounding the problem is the infrequency of revisions to the CPG. Years between new editions of the CPG. And right now it looks like we may NEVER see a new edition of the CPG.
New discoveries often don't get a chance, all due to the whims of a closed group of individuals:
A couple of years ago a collector discovered the 1953-S/S/S RPM #2 Franklin Half. The collector went thru the rigamarole of having the variety verified by John Wexler and slabbed as a Discovery piece at ANACS. The collector then had Larry Briggs present the coin to Fivaz who felt that the variety was unworthy of inclusion in "his" book.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Fivaz was busy approving of, basically stupid Franklin die clash varieties like the 1950 and 1952-D "Booger nose" varieties. Remember earlier I stated that, "99.9% of the time the dealer will be told simply, NO?" Well the reason I didn't go with 100% is that Fivaz (and likely a few other "blessed" individuals) CAN and DO
get PCGS to recognize new varieties without those varieties having published
I think that is a terribly unfair way to get things done and hope CAC does not follow down that wrong path. What do you say @JACAC